St. John's, 1856

About 1 1\2 miles north of this spot is the abandoned site of "Old St. John's,"one of the first towns established in Dakota County.

The townsite was settled on June 2, 1856, by the Father Trecy Colony--sixty people, with eighteen ox-drawn covered wagons. The site was surveyed and platted June 24, 1856, and the town was named St. John's, in honor of St. John the Baptist.

The colony was led by Father Jeremiah Trecy, a young Catholic priest from the Garryowen Parish near Dubuque, Iowa. Consisting mostly of Irish immigrants, it constituted the first Catholic parish in Nebraska. The town of St. John's grew rapidly and by 1858 it had two hundred inhabitants.

In 1860 Father Trecy went to Washington seeking permission to establish a mission among the Ponca Indians. Meanwhile the Civil War began. Father Trecy became an army chaplain, and never returned to his beloved colony.

In the early sixties, the Missouri River began to threaten St. John's. The people began moving their buildings to the new town of Jackson. By 1866 all buildings were gone and the townsite was abandoned.

The site of St. John's still exists as a symbol of courage and hope and of the religious faith of a dedicated people.



U.S. 20, Jackson